Art History at the University of Memphis is the study of art as both a reflection of culture and an active agent in shaping it. As such, painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, video, performance, mixed media, among other mediums, are understood to be intricately related to a broader cultural context including literature, philosophy, religion, politics, and science. Students are trained to closely analyze art and visual culture from an interdisciplinary perspective, taking into consideration the creative process, viewer reception, and artistic function.
The primary goal of the undergraduate B.A. program is two-fold: 1) to provide students with a general foundation of art historical knowledge from a global, multicultural perspective, beginning with the ancient worlds up to the present day; 2) produce graduates with the analytical training, writing skills, and research techniques necessary to pursue further graduate studies or a range of employment opportunities in education, museums, or arts organizations. With one of the largest art history faculties in the Southeast (nine Ph.D. faculty) offering a number of undergraduate and graduate courses, such as Greek and Roman Art, Visual Arts of Africa, Medieval Art, Art Theory and Criticism, Museum Studies, Egyptian Art and Architecture, Modern American Photography, Italian Renaissance Art, Realism and Impressionism, and Contemporary Folk Art, the Art History program at the University of Memphis ranks among the best in the region.
The program has been further distinguished among state institutions by awards of both a Chair of Excellence (the Dorothy Kayser Hohenberg Chair of Excellence in Art History, which provides us with a distinguished visiting scholar every year), and a Center of Excellence, the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology, which supports the study of the art of Egypt with a substantial research library and object collection, as well as a distinguished faculty of five, making it one of the largest teaching programs in the U.S.